Fatal Pasco police shooting caught on video sparks protests

Feb 12, 2015, 8:12 AM | Updated: 3:26 pm
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WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES IN VIDEO

The fatal police shooting Tuesday in Pasco has sparked protests by those accusing police of brutality in killing a man who tried to run after throwing rocks at officers.

Protesters outside the Pasco City Hall Wednesday afternoon chanted “We want justice” in English and Spanish.

A vigil was held Wednesday night in downtown Pasco in memory of 35-year-old orchard worker Antonio Zambrano-Montes. KEPR reports some people compared the shooting to the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

Dario Infante, 21, of Pasco, recorded video from a vehicle about 50 feet away as the scene unfolded. In an email interview, he said he decided to start recording when he saw an officer trying to use a stun gun on the man. Infante said he saw the man throw a few rocks at police officers but he didn’t see him hit any officers.

Five “pops” are audible shortly after the video begins, and the man can be seen running away, across a street and down a sidewalk, pursued by three officers.

As the officers draw closer to the running man, he stops, turns around and faces them. Multiple “pops” are heard and the man falls to the ground.

“He didn’t throw any rocks after he started running,” Infante said.

KIRO Radio’s Tom & Curley Show host Tom Tangney says it doesn’t look like the man was charging the officers when he was actually shot.

“What is disturbing about it is it looks like he didn’t have anything like a gun, at most he had a rock in his hand,” said Tangney.

“It didn’t look aggressive to me. It just looks like he finally said OK I’ll stop, he turns around and he gets hit by a lot of bullets.”

Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger said at a news conference that officers used a stun gun on the man, but it had no effect. Because of his “threatening” behavior, officers fired their guns, he said.

Several dozen people gathered at Pasco City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to raise concerns about the shooting.

The ACLU of Washington also issued a statement, calling the incident “very disturbing.”

“Fleeing from police and not following an officer’s command should not be sufficient for a person to get shot,” the group’s executive director, Kathleen Taylor. Deadly force should be used only as a last resort, she said.

Another protest is planned at noon Saturday outside the Pasco City Hall.

The shooting is under investigation but police have said officers fired because they were threatened.

Tuesday’s case was the fourth fatal shooting involving a Tri-City police officer in Pasco in the last six months. Officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in all three of the previous cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Fatal Pasco police shooting caught on video sparks protests